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Practical information

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This page contains practical information for travellers to Rome. Please note that opening hours, ticket prices etc. frequently change. The following should be taken as guidelines only.

Information about audiences with the Holy Father is on a separate page.

Opening hoursEdit

Patriarchal basilicas - generalEdit

The patriarchal basilicas are open all day, in summer (April-September) from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m and in winter (October-March) from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

San Pietro in VaticanoEdit

The Treasury is open every day from 9 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. April-September, and 9 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. October-March. Last admission is 30 minutes before closing time. There is an entrance fee.

The dome is open every day from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. April-September, and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. October-March. There is an entrance fee, with two options. The cheapest one means taking the stairs all the way up, while the more expensive includes a ride in the lift to the roof. Unless you're on a tight budget or have a thing for stairs, the lift is recommended. If nature calls, there are toilets on the roof. For those have problems with stairs, it's possible to get a good view from the roof by taking the lift; note that there are still some steps that you'll have to negotiate.

The crypt is open every day from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. April-September.

The Vatican excavations and the Roman necropolis can be visited by appointment. This can be arranged with the Excavations Office. Write to: Delegate of the Fabbrica di San Pietro, Excavations Office, 00120 Vatican City, call at telephone no. +39 (06) 6988 5318, send a fax to +39 (06) 6988 5518 or send an e-mail to uff.scavi@fabricsp.va. The office is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed Sundays and holidays. They will provide you with an application form. There are a number of rules: No more than ten people can visit at a time; only persons over 15 years of age are admitted; no bags, cameras, large objects etc. can be carried (a guarded baggage deposit office is provided free of charge on the right side of the façade of the basilica); a non-refundable fee must be paid in advance.

Toilets can be found on the left-hand side of the Piazza San Pietro. As with the ones on the roof,I have always found them to be clean.

The Vatican bookshop is also on the left-hand side of the piazza. It has a good selection of guide-books, bibles, missals, hymnals and religious literature and music, as well as some souvenirs and videos.

Next to the bookshop is a first-aid station, which provides competent and efficient help in emergencies.

Other churchesEdit

As a general rule, churches open early in the morning, 6.30-7.00 a.m., and close for lunch aorund noon. They reopen around 4 p.m. and close for the night around 7 p.m.

Some churches are only open for Mass, in some cases a daily morning Mass, and other for Sunday Mass only. As far as possible, this is noted in the articles on individual churches.

Disabled visitorsEdit

Rome is not the best of destinations for disabled visitors, but with some planning it is possible to enjoy the city. Please note that even if the church may be accessed with a wheelchair, it may still be difficult for persons with limited walking abilities. For instance, the patriarchal basilicas are easily accessed in a wheelchair, but due to their massive size and the fact that it is impossible to drive right up to the door, it may be difficult or impossible for a disabled person not using a wheel-chair to walk there. In some cases, asking the hotel to provide a wheel-chair can be recommended. Also, even though the church in general is accessible, some parts may be impossible to reach (such as crypts).

Note that pavements (sidewalks) in Rome are often narrow and uneven, making it difficult to push a wheel-chair. There are also uneven cobble-stones in some places.

Disabled pilgrims who wish to attend a papal audience should make staff aware of their presence, as they may be allowed special seating close to the Holy Father; trying to negotiate ones way through the huge crowds in a wheel-chair or on weak legs is quite risky.

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